After its announcement in late January, North High Street’s newest restaurant and bar, TRISM, is set to open sometime in mid-June.
The Lantern’s Arts & Life desk was able to get an inside look at TRISM and the progress it has made as the new-age eatery gets closer to its opening.
Abed Al Shahal, a 2012 OSU alumnus and co-owner of A&R Creative Group, opened TRISM with his brother Ali. He said the goal of creating TRISM was to focus on what Columbus needed, rather than what was already working.
“We pulled from a lot of different things,” he said. “We pulled inspiration from Alchemy –– that’s one of our own concepts that we built –– but mainly, it came out of not inspiration from seeing something, but what’s missing in the city.”
Apart from TRISM, A&R Creative Group already owns eight other establishments around Columbus, including campus favorites like Ethyl & Tank, Midway on High and Fourth Street Bar & Grill.
Unlike its fellow A&R Creative Group counterparts, TRISM will be a concept of its own kind. Al Shahal said he envisions TRISM transforming throughout the day from a healthy breakfast joint into a fast-casual lunch spot, then into a nighttime event space and bar.
“TRISM is a transformative space,” he said. “It’s an eatery, event space and bar. The whole concept of the place is that it changes based on the time of day people are gathering here.”
In the mornings, TRISM will work as a healthy option for breakfast, serving staples like smoothies, avocado toast, smoothie and acai bowls, donuts and pastries. However, what separates TRISM is its focus on “superfood inspiration,” Al Shahal said.
Superfoods, which are nutrient-rich foods considered to be especially good for you, will include options like acai and dragonfruit.
One item that particularly stood out to us was the “superfood poptart,” which to our delight came in a variety of flavors –– turmeric and mango; hibiscus and cacao; and strawberry-chia.
Everything on TRISM’s menu will be made in-house. According to Al Shahal, their food can’t be placed in any particular category, especially when it comes to lunch, which draws inspiration from cuisines across the globe.
“We’ll have worldly-inspired bowls, kind of like the essence of the quick-service restaurants,” Al Shahal said. “We’ll have a Mediterranean bowl with black forbidden rice, hummus, house-made falafel; we have a Vietnamese bahn mi sandwich, a bahn mi bowl, a southwest bowl. Borders don’t really define our food.”
During the evening hours, TRISM transforms into a late-night campus bar unlike anything most students are familiar with. Like a lot of the menu, the bar will feature specialty, superfood-inspired cocktails, putting tropical fruits like acai and dragon fruit in the mix.
Apart from the daily menus, TRISM will also feature a weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Al Shahal said brunch at TRISM is it’s own category, but will include staples like cold-pressed juices and mimosa flights.
Alexis Joseph, who leads the team at Alchemy and is heavily involved with the TRISM project, said TRISM draws a lot from Alchemy, but at the same time, provides a more dynamic space that changes minute by minute.
“TRISM will have an entirely new menu addition of world-inspired, savory meal-style bowls in addition to a brunch menu that isn’t available at Alchemy,” she said,
Pricing wise, menu items can range anywhere between $3 and $11, which will be similar to prices at Alchemy.
Food options aren’t the only thing that separate TRISM. The eatery, bar and event space also offers a new seating style.
The front of TRISM features a novel seating area, based on “seating surfaces,” as Al Shahal coined them. For the owners, the concept was a way of providing “very social seating,” he said.
If you’re familiar with the iconic steps at Knowlton Hall, TRISM will also feature similar stadium-style seating, though on a smaller scale.
TRISM will also feature a walk-up window facing High Street, which will be offering a limited menu of on-the-go options during the day. The window will also be connected to an outdoor patio.
The big changes at TRISM happen in the evening, as the space transforms into a venue open to all. Though TRISM is open to hosting private events, Al Shahal said their main focus is on the public.
“We’re gonna do things like poetry slams or improv theater, we’ll have a pop-up flea market, farmer’s markets,” he said. “Just kind of a very flexible space.”
Rumor had it that TRISM would often play host to weekend DJ’s, but Al Shahal was able to debunk the rumor. “There will definitely be a music component, but how often is to be determined,” he said.
Though their main focus will be on a variety of public events, in terms of music, they are shooting to bring big-name national acts to the space on a monthly basis.
“We don’t want music to define the space,” Al Shahal said. “So that’s gonna be the push and pull for us, that’s why you really gotta hit on more artsy, more boutique type events.”
Al Shahal said they already have events signed up to take over the new venue, though bigger events won’t start kicking off until July or August when classes are about to start again.
Obviously, we were both bigs fans of what TRISM had to offer, especially when you think about the fact that it has something for everyone.
At the same time, TRISM isn’t interested in becoming just another sticky-floor campus bar, Al Shahal added, and they hope to provide a Short North-like vibe to students, mostly graduates and upperclassmen.
“We want to bridge the gap from other neighborhoods to campus,” Al Shahal said. “We don’t want to just service the student population, we want to bring in people from the Short North and bring in people from Italian Village.”
As a student here, Al Shahal said there wasn’t a place on campus that had this type of versatility, or sense of balance, and it’s his hope that TRISM brings just that to the campus area.
“It’s for a lot of different people, not just people who like to watch sports or go out dancing late at night, “ he added. “It (was) like, what’s something that could fill that void that you go to two (or) three times a week and just hang out, take your first date, just study or dance.”